Friday, May 25

Dunlop Masters returns to the Mondello International track

Mondello Park International Track next up for the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship

The third event of the 2018 Dunlop Masters Supersport Championship takes place this weekend, May 26th & 27th, and will offer competitors a new challenge as they race on the Mondello Park International Track layout, which was recently partially resurfaced, for the first time this season.

The longer International Circuit usually throw up some different results and many of the Superbike Championship competitors will be hoping for just that, as they aim to close the gap to Charles Stuart at the head of the field. This weekend also marks a year since the last time anything other than a Yamaha R1 was ridden to victory at the Masters, offering an even bigger incentive to the chasing pack to break Charles Stuart and Richie Ryan's dominance of the top step.

The riders most likely to knock the top two off their stride are all BMW mounted with Peter Moloney, Luke Johnston and Brian McCormack as their closest challengers. James Kelly on the top Suzuki, Andrew Murphy on the best of the Kawasaki's and Edward Comerford on another Yamaha are all improving every time out and could start to challenge the top names on the full International Track. The Cup class is much more open with four different riders having tasted 2018 victory and some frantic battling for the podium positions.

The big prize in the Supersport class this weekend will be the Aidan Lynam memorial trophy which is awarded annually to the winner of the 'Cup' class in the final race of the weekend. The top Cup racers will all be out to lift this trophy, which was won in the previous two years by riders who have gone on to compete at the BSB, Aaron Clifford in 2016 and Eunan McGlinchey last season.

The packed programme of races will see some classes race twice on Saturday and once on Sunday with the remainder having a single race on day one and two on the second day. Highlights of the support classes will be the very competitive Principal Insurance Pre-Injection class, a full grid of Twins, and the increasingly competitive Sidecar grid which will have seventeen starters this time around.

All of the information on the third Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship event of the season, including the timetable, is available from Tickets are also available at the reduced price of just €12.50, booked on-line, with under sixteen's admitted free.

Image Stephen Mahon

Thursday, May 24

Team 109 Keyes aims high for Donington WSBK opportunity

Edenderry’s Kevin Keyes is Team #109’s sole entry for this weekends World Superbike Championship round at Donington Park in which the Pirelli National Superstock 600 class run alongside as a support class for the European round of the series.

It was less than a month ago from Keyes was last in action at Oulton Park where he bounced back from two crashes in qualifying and warm up to score his second podium finish of the season, taking a brilliant second place finish around the Chester circuit.

Back fully fit following his Bank Holiday weekend crashes, Keyes is hoping to use the current momentum he has built from the last round to hopefully stand on the podium once again this weekend. Having competed at Donington Park already this season, scoring his maiden podium finish in the class at the opening event of the campaign in April, the twenty-year-old has hopes of doing the same again this weekend.

Speaking ahead of this weekend the Offaly rider said; “I’m feeling confident heading into this weekend, I’m feeling fit again after our crashes at Oulton, and I’ve done plenty of training ahead of the weekend to make sure I am coming into it sharp. Ryan Vickers has an entry into the World Supersport class this weekend, so with him not out my aim is to get some more valuable points with him away for this round, be smart, and bring it home, hopefully up the front.”

Sharing a paddock the biggest teams and riders in the World Superbike Championship, including fellow Kawasaki rider, and current world champion Jonathan Rea is a motivation for Kevin, and he is hoping to attempt to catch the attention of some of the biggest riders and teams in the world this weekend.

“For me this is an important round, not just for myself personally, but for us as a team,” said Kevin. “Sharing a paddock with the World Superbike and Supersport teams is a huge opportunity. You never know who will be looking at you, and the team has put a lot of effort into looking and working professionally this season. So hopefully I can do a good job in front of some big teams and riders, and if I can come home as top Kawasaki in the class, keep the attention of ‘Team Green’, you never know what can happen.”

Words James McCann

Rhys Irwin takes to the WSBK stage for Donington round

Donegal’s Rhys Irwin features in the World Superbike programme this weekend as the Donington round hosts Round 2 of the British Talent Cup.

Competing on the Honda NSF250R Moto3 machinery, Rhys will be out on Friday for FP1\FP2 and qualifying to take place. Race 1 will take place on Saturday afternoon at 4.15, with Race 2 at the same time on Sunday. Both race will consist of 15 laps of the East Midlands circuit.

The British Talent Cup is a Dorna based competition and a potential introduction to MotoGP managed by Alberto Puig. It replaces the Red Bull Rookie cup whose past entrants include Johann Zarco, Maverick Vinales and current MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.

Words Andy Quinn

Wednesday, May 23

Caolán Irwin receives Young Racer of the Year nomination

Donegal's Caolán Irwin has been announced as the Masters Superbike Championship Young Racer of the Year nominee for April following his trio of second places at rounds four, five and six of the Masters Supersport championship at Mondello Park.

The Masters Young Racer of the Year award is open to any rider who is under twenty three and competing at the Masters. At each event one rider is nominated to go forward to the end of year shoot out where they will have a chance to battle for the  €10,000 prize which is provided by Martin Birrane, owner of Mondello Park, Dawn International and Peter McMahon of EICL.

Making his debut as a Pro rider at the Masters, twenty year old Caolán rode the Superstock machine he races in the British Championship and was having his first Supersport experience of the Mondello Park National Track and his first run out on the Dunlop tyres used in the Masters Championship. Despite having to adjust his machine to the unfamiliar tyres and overcome a power disadvantage, the Kilmacrennan rider impressed the judges from the outset by qualifying on the front row for race one.

In the first of his three races Irwin lead away from the lights, but his lead only lasted to turn three where his inexperience with the Dunlop tyres caught him out. As he arrived at the corner there was a localised shower and he backed off too much due to being unsure of how much grip he would have, dropping to fourth place. A strong recovery saw him back in second by half distance and he held that position to the flag, taking fastest race lap to put him on pole position for race two.

Over the remaining two races the Donegal racer chased Championship leader Dean McMaster hard but despite almost matching his lap times he was unable to get the better of his more experienced rival and had to settle for two more second places.

Speaking on hearing of his nomination Caolán said, “I'm really delighted to get the nomination and now for the third year in a row there will be an Irwin in the final, with my brother Rhys having been nominated the previous two years. With three podiums and now the Young Racer nomination I never imagined my first weekend on the Mondello Park National Track in the Supersport class would go this well. I'm off to Donington to race in the British Superstock 600 Championship at the World Superbike Championship event this weekend so I will miss the next round of the Masters, but I will be back later in the year looking for my first win. Once my season is over I'll be concentrating on preparing for the final and I will go into it knowing what to expect having seen what Rhys had to do over the past two years. I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me in getting to where I am and especially Mondello Park for putting this award together and for running such an excellent event at the last Masters."

Caolán Irwin now joins March nominee Aaron Wright in going forward to the October final and as part of his prize he will also receive a free entry, testing and garage space for the next Masters event he competes at.

For more information see

Tuesday, May 22

Darren Cooper gains momentum at the NW200

The North West 200 proved a great learning curve for Team NW Racing, and its rider Darren Cooper. It was Darren’s first real fast run on the BMW 1000RR, and he was delighted with its performance. Darren had a busy week in preparation for the Isle of Man TT, taking part in the 600 and Supertwin classes, as well as the Superstock and Superbike races.

The excellent weather definitely helped with practice and racing, and after qualifying, he was happy with the way all three bikes were going, and he was getting up to speed, and faster as the week went on. This week proved a great set up for the TT, and the team is relishing the challenge that the Mountain course brings.

The highlight of the week was definitely Darren’s 8th place in the Supertwin race, and he is also delighted to be graded for this class at the TT, in his first year, after his success at the Manx Grand Prix in 2017.

Noel Williamson; “I am delighted the way Darren is riding, he is smooth and fast, and the BMW is flying. He has gelled with the “Big Bike” and I am really looking forward to the TT. His fantastic 8th place in the Supertwin race was the icing on the cake”

Darren Cooper; I came to the North West in 2015, and to be honest I really didn’t enjoy it, and this was my first time back there, but this time it was brilliant. We are starting to make real progress with the BMW. We went in the right direction in the last race with a suspension change, and took another two seconds of my best time. I am happy with the 600, which is ready to go at the TT. A silly mistake in the 600 race on Saturday, saw me have to go through pit lane, and it cost me dearly. To finish 8th place in the Supertwin in such good company, is just brilliant and I am over the moon. I feel that I can get better with some changes”

Jack Corry

Sunday, May 20

Sheils just shy of podium at Horice Road Races

Derek Sheils just missed out on silverware in the Czech Republic this afternoon with a well deserved 4th place in the Open 1000cc race. Opting to sit out the NW200 and choosing the Czech races for his build up to the TT races on the Penz13 BMW S1000RR, the Dubliner made his debut at Horice at the famous “300 turns” track northeast of Prague.

Wet weather yesterday ruined practise and qualifying for many but, even with minimal track time Sheils started the Superbike race on the 2nd row in 6th alongside the likes of Danny Webb. Getting away cleanly, the Dublin rider picked another 2 positions over the 11 lap race to come home a very credible 4th not far behind Horice regulars Kamil Holan (3rd), Didier Grams (2nd) and winner Marek Cerveny.

Hopefully this momentum will add to Sheils International results as the Fastest Irish ever at the TT heads to the Isle of Man races later this month.

Words and images Andy Quinn

Tuesday, May 15

Country Crest & Des D'Arcy Motors Skerries 100 launch

Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club are delighted to announce, that two of the clubs extremely loyal sponsors, Country Crest & Des D'Arcy Motors are joining forces as title sponsors of the iconic Skerries 100 Road Race. Both of these sponsors have been associated with the club for many years, and we are really looking forward to working with them both.
With a break in tradition, this year’s event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, 7th July and 8th July over the demanding 2.9 mile seaside course, and with all the recent debate surrounding the insurance crisis, we are proud to have great sponsors supporting the famous “Skerries 100”.
The support we have received from our loyal sponsors over the years has help us to keep this historic race going and our very proud to announce the following sponsors, Axa Bike Care, HMS, B&V Nurseries, Kennedy’s Motorcycles, Sam Dennigan & Co., The Seaver Family, ASM, Ollies Place, C&T Supermarkets, Convent Lane Motors, Mc Nally & Co Accountants and the People's Race. In addition we have a new race sponsor Hughes Sales and Service Ltd.

Michael Hoey, Country Crest;
“Country Crest is delighted to be the official co-sponsor for this year’s Skerries 100. It’s a real honour to be in a position to support this incredible local sports event, which is now running for over 70 years, and has become ingrained in our calendar. Thanks to the fantastic work done by the Loughshinny Motorcycle Club, the event attracts riders from all over the globe, and thousands of motorcycle fans every year. We hope that you the spectators enjoy this thrilling weekend of racing, and most importantly, we want to wish the entire road racing stars, a safe and enjoyable event.”

Des D'Arcy;
“Des D'Arcy Motors are proud to be once more involved with the Loughshinny Club as a co-title sponsor and we are looking forward to an exciting weekends racing. I believe that the change to Saturday/Sunday racing will improve the attendance, and hopefully the fans will respond by buying the wrist band and programme and support the club in keeping road racing alive”
Susan Plunkett, Chairperson LMCSC, and Clerk of the Course; I am delighted to be involved with the organisation and running of this wonderful, dynamic, iconic and historic event. We have a really strong committee and race team and they have been working tireless in the background to put all the pieces of this wonderful event together. We have made a historic change to Saturday and Sunday so would really appreciate if the word about this can be spread. I would like to thank our title sponsors and all our individual races sponsors, our advertisers and all the people who give us provisions or money to help us facilitate the event, you loyal support over the years is greatly appreciated by all our members. We have a full race programme to put on and the circuit preparation will be key to this, so for anyone who wants to come along and help we meet on a Wednesday at 8.30pm in the Hills Cricket club from now until the event. Track preparation will begin on the 18th June and this is crucial to our success, so if you think you can help with someone please get in touch with us or any of our members all help is very much appreciated. And finally a huge thank you to our landowners, residences, officials, Fingal County Council, An Garda Siochána, Motorcycling Ireland, marshals, Man-o-war GAA, Hill Cricket Club, Milverton Off-Road and everyone who helps with our event.

As we are all well aware that the cost of running Irish Championship road racing, is escalating, and we are keeping the cost of the two days practice and racing at just €25, and that will include a race programme. We are hoping that all road race fans will dig deep to help the future of racing, and buy their admission arm band, that will help the club with the cost of the event.
Proceedings will start with the Annual Classic Parade that will take place on Friday 6th July, with sign on starting in Skerries Mills at 5:30pm, and the run itself at 7.30pm. The entry fee of €10 for the parade will all go to the MCI Medical Team who have started to fund raise for a vital piece of equipment which they current use but it has reached it final year of operation. The vital piece is a LifePak 15, and the cost will be €23000, which we need to raise between now and the end of the season to get ensure that we start 2019 with it.

Roads will close on Saturday 12 noon for practice, and will re-open no later than 8:30pm. On Sunday 8th July, the roads will close at 9.30am, and re-open no later than 6.30pm. For more information please log on to the clubs website, or contact the club on 086-0447478.

Margaret Corry
Media Coordinator

Wednesday, May 9

Enniskillen Road Races return

The border county of Fermanagh will once again be treated to the thrills of motorcycle racing on closed public roads. The Enniskillen and District Motorcycle Club (Road Racing) Ltd is delighted to launch the 1st Enniskillen Road Races on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th June 2018. Its 66 years since the original ‘Enniskillen 100’ ran on the old 5-mile circuit. Fast forward to June and the enthusiastic club are hosting a “no frills, just pure road racing” event which we hope to be an annual fixture on the Road Racing calendar. Set in the shadow of Cuilcagh Mountain, the 3-mile circuit that has a ‘little bit of everything’ ranging from wide fast straights with sweeping corners to blind jumps along narrow tree lined routes is only a few miles from the now famous stairway to heaven walk over Marble Arch Geopark and Lough Erne and local marinas.

The race schedule will see a full day of practices on the Friday with roads closing from 12 – 9, with a full grid of newcomers its set to be a busy day. On Saturday there will be an 11 Race Program with the Richard Britton Memorial Race to be the showcase of the day. Richard is the main reason the club were able to move forward with our plans with the funds raised thanks to the tribute film which was commissioned by the club and produced and directed by Colin James to mark the 10th anniversary of his untimely passing.

Riders from all over Ireland north and south will compete at the event with riders from as far as Germany and England. We believe that the rider at the back is every bit as important as the rider at the front we are hopeful to put on a show as never seen in this area before. We are proud to bring motorcycle racing back to the area and as it was during the last race in 1952 it will again have the ‘old school’ approach and the local community are looking forward to the event.
The Club have successfully run short circuit events at St Angelo and will continue running the two events on an annual basis.
The club have been working for 3 years to get the event up and running and are grateful for the support of the local community group, land owners, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and the Department for Infrastructure.
We appeal for everyone to support the Enniskillen Road Race by purchasing a program - your support will make the event a permanent fixture.

NW Racing partnership with Darren Cooper flourishes in Tandragee

Team NW Racing are just back from a successful Tandragee 100, where team rider Darren Cooper excelled as a newcomer, and came away with a fine third place in the Supertwin race.
Darren started the day finishing 22nd in the Open Superbike race, and followed that by finishing in an excellent 13th place in the Tandragee 100 Superbike race, and he also set his fastest time of the day at 102.22mph. Darren was also taking part in the Supersport 600 race where he finished in a fine 12th place, and the finished the day with a brilliant third place in the Supertwin race.

Noel Williamson; “I am delighted the way that Darren rode, especially as he was a newcomer. We have a game plan for the season and it is working at the moment. Darren was getting faster every lap and the icing in the cake came with a fantastic third place in the Supertwin race. The racing was top class with Darren mixing it with well in all classes. We are really looking forward to the North West”

Darren Cooper; “I really enjoyed the whole weekend and it is a fantastic course. The racing was very close, and I enjoyed every race, especially the Supertwin. As I was riding three different bikes, each bike has its own way, and you have to be really concentrating. I was still learning the course, but the more laps I did on the BMW the better I got. The bike really handled well, and I am looking forward to the North West, and hopefully the weather will be as kind to us as it was on Saturday. The team are really gelling together and I know that it is only two races into the season, but everything is going to plan. I was delighted with the way the meeting was run, and I would like to thank Anne Forsythe and her team for the way they ran the meeting, and also the way we were looked after”.

Jack Corry

Friday, May 4

Caolán Irwin takes three second places on Supersport Pro debut at Mondello Park

Irwin Racing returned home to Mondello Park for the second event of the 2018 Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship looking to get some extra mileage before the next round of the British Superstock 600 championship and left with three very impressive second places for Caolán Irwin riding in the Supersport Pro class.

The Donegal based team came to Mondello Park to work on developing their brand new Yamaha R6 Superstock machine, faced with the extra challenge of running on Dunlop Tyres for the first time. A good test day on Friday left them confident and Caolán backed that up with third on the grid for the opening race.

When the lights went out for race one Caolán got a storming start to lead into the first corner, but as he arrived at turn three a localised rain shower had made the track wet and he backed off too much due to being on unfamiliar tyres. By the end of the lap his error had dropped him to fourth place but he quickly got back to third and headed off after second placed Dean McMaster. By half distance Caolán had caught and passed McMaster but despite setting fastest race lap, the leader was too far gone to catch so he had to settle for second.

Running a Superstock machine with less power than the Supersport bikes he was up against, meant that it was always going to be a struggle to get to the front, but the Donegal youngster kept battling throughout. Despite getting a better start than McMaster in race two Caolán lost out to Supersport power on the run to the first turn and found himself in second once again. Over the remaining laps he pushed hard, but could do nothing about McMaster. He did however have the speed to stay ahead of the rest of the grid and make his second podium appearance of the weekend.

The story was much the same in race three as Caolán made it a hat-trick of runner up places, leaving team and rider happy with their weekend's work as they got some more very valuable mileage. “I've had a great weekend her at the Masters in Mondello Park” said Caolán following race three. “To finish on the podium in all three races on my debut as a Supersport Pro is more than I could have hoped for, especially as I had the extra complication of using the Dunlop tyres which I had never ridden on before. I have to say a massive thanks to all the staff at Mondello Park for running such a great event and also to my loyal sponsors and helpers for keeping the wheels turning. I cant wait now for my next outing on the bike at Oulton Park.”

Following their successful weekend at Mondello Park, Irwin Racing will go to Oulton Park next weekend, May 4th -6th, full of confidence as they tackle round three of the British Superstock 600 championship.

Words Motorsport Promotions